The role of the gastrointestinal tract in calcium homeostasis and bone remodeling

Osteoporos Int. 2013 Nov;24(11):2737-48. doi: 10.1007/s00198-013-2335-4. Epub 2013 Mar 28.


While skeletal biology was approached in a rather isolated fashion in the past, an increasing understanding of the interplay between extraskeletal organs and bone remodeling has been obtained in recent years. This review will discuss recent advances in the field that have shed light on how the gastrointestinal tract and bone relate to each other. In particular, the importance of the GI tract in maintaining calcium homeostasis and skeletal integrity will be reviewed as impaired gastric acid production represents a major public health problem with possible implications for sufficient calcium absorption. Osteoporosis, the most prevalent bone disease worldwide, is caused not only by intrinsic defects affecting bone cell differentiation and function but also by a large set of extrinsic factors including hormonal disturbances, malnutrition, and iatrogenic drug application. Given the skeletal requirements of calcium, amino acids, and energy for bone turnover and renewal, it is not surprising that the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is of major importance for skeletal integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achlorhydria / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Osteopetrosis / genetics
  • Osteopetrosis / physiopathology
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / chemically induced
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / adverse effects


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors
  • Calcium